9 Years on Mars

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity just celebrated its ninth anniversary on Mars - a mission that was originally meant to last just 90 days. Although recently eclipsed in the news by its bigger brother Curiosity, Opportunity is still going strong and making valuable scientific discoveries. Launched into space in 2003, Opportunity bounced to a hole-in-one landing in a small crater on Mars' Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004. It has since spent 3,212 Martian days, or sols, on the surface, slowly moving from target to target, exploring craters, meteorites, unusual rock formations, and finding evidence of past water activity. Over the past 108 months, Opportunity has driven a total of 35.48 kilometers (22.05 miles) across Mars -- not bad for a mission designed to last only three months.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Xie Mingfei / VCG / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Apple Crisp, Squirrel Tea, Floating Pumpkin

    A crab migration on Christmas Island, dengue-fever outbreaks in Pakistan, a castle in eastern France, migrants crossing the English Channel, and much more

  • Carlos Osorio / Reuters

    A Visit to Churchill, Manitoba, During Polar-Bear Season

    Carlos Osorio, a photographer with Reuters, has spent the past week in Churchill, Manitoba, taking photos of polar bears, the town, and the frigid landscape.

  • Emilio Morenatti / AP

    Buried in Volcanic Ash, Scenes from the Canary Islands

    Millions of cubic meters of fallen ash now blanket much of the landscape near the eruption.

  • Christopher Furlong / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Pelican Bench, Truffle Hunter, Supply Chain

    A snowstorm in Moscow, a vintage-car race in England, flooding in British Columbia, smoggy skies in India, big-wave surfing in Portugal, and much more